Chase For the #1 Seed: Patience is Key

Three weeks ago after thrashing the Texans, the Bills knew that they had an opportunity to put an early season stranglehold on the AFC with match ups against the Chiefs and Titans upcoming. After the two week road gauntlet, the Bills don’t have the stranglehold they wanted, but they are still in a driver’s seat for the #1 seed, first round bye, and “easiest” path to a Super Bowl. This weekly series will take a look at the games pertinent to the AFC standings, the race for the #1 seed, and implications on the Bills’ quest.

AFC Standings

  1. Baltimore (5-1)
  2. LA Chargers (4-2)
  3. Tennessee (4-2)
  4. Buffalo (4-2)
  5. Cincinnati (4-2)
  6. Las Vegas (4-2)
  7. Cleveland (4-3)

There is a log jam of teams with four wins in the AFC. As of now, the Bills are the 4 seed but could move up based on the results of the games today. The Bills next three games are Miami, Jacksonville, and the New York Jets so this week might be the last time we see them as low as the 4-seed. The stats outlined below indicate that the Bills are in a great position to get the #1 seed by season’s end, we will just have to wait for the season to play out.

Odds for #1 Seed – per Football Outsiders

Using their simulation software various algorithms, Football Outsiders are projecting these odds for the #1 seed in the AFC. Before their loss to the Titans, the same software projected the Bills having a 54% chance of finishing first in the conference. Now, it is a dead heat between them and the Ravens.

TeamOdds (Percentage)
LA Chargers4.7%
Kansas City4.5%
Tennessee 3.6%
Las Vegas3%

Important Games

Kansas City @ Tennessee
The Bills’ last two opponents will face off in what is a huge match-up for both teams. If the Chiefs win both teams will move to 4-3, which is a game worse than the Bills. The Bills do hold the tiebreaker over Chiefs, but not the Titans. According to our friends over at Tankathon, the Titans have the second easiest schedule remaining. Second only to…the Buffalo Bills. A Titans loss will get them back below Buffalo in the standings. Given the results of the past two games and the path that lies ahead for both teams, Bills fans should be rooting for Kansas City in this one.

Cincinnati @ Baltimore
As of now, the Ravens pose the biggest threat to the Bills’ hopes for the #1 seed in the AFC. According to Tankathon, the Ravens have one of the harder schedules remaining in the AFC. As of now, the Ravens sit atop of the pack, but for how long is anyone’s guess. A win in Baltimore today would become the signature win for Joe Burrow and the Bengals, a team who sees an early-season opportunity to win their first AFC North since 2015. Obviously, a Bengals win today would be huge for the Bills and their hopes for the #1 seed.

Philadelphia @ Las Vegas
The Raiders shouldn’t concern the Bills too much, but they are about to be in a three-man dogfight for the AFC West along with the Chargers and Chiefs. The Raiders have the 18th toughest remaining schedule, including two games against the Chiefs. For now, it appears the Raiders are a concern for Bills fans, but I don’t think they will be for long. An Eagles win would be beneficial to the Bills in this one.

Patience is Key

Patience will be the key for Bills fans. It is not easy to see the Bills in 4th place in the conference as the season closes in on it’s halfway point, but it is important to know that this won’t last. The Bills have played the hardest part of their schedule already and the time to rack up wins starts next Sunday coming out of their bye. The Bills are hoping that it won’t be their last bye week – the second of which coming in January.

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